Lufthansa is warning that a planned ban on night time flights at Frankfurt airport would allow the Middle East to overtake Europe as a global cargo hub.
“Gulf states want to replace Europe as a freight hub. We need internationally competitive operating times and that means night flights,” Franz said.
Franz pointed to Qatar Airways’ purchase of a 35 percent stake in Cargolux, Europe’s largest all-cargo carrier, and Dubai’s plans to significantly increase its freight capacity.
“If companies are to invest heavily in infrastructure and modern and efficient aircraft...they require planning security,” said Lufthansa Cargo CEO Karl Ulrich Garnadt.
A court in Leipzig will shortly decide whether to allow an appeal calling for a complete ban on night flights at Frankfurt in the fall just before Europe’s biggest cargo hub plans to open a new runway.
Two years ago Frankfurt agreed to cut the maximum number of flights between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. to 17 from a previous ceiling of 41 in order to win planning approval from the state of Hesse for a multi-billion dollar expansion in capacity.
Now Hesse is seeking to completely outlaw night time flights under pressure from environmentalists.
Lufthansa Cargo warned in the past that it might have to sell its entire fleet of 18 MD-11 freighters if night flights are banned.
A night flight ban would result in thousands of job losses at trucking companies and freight forwarders, according to industry estimates.
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